After Playcrafting’s Fall Expo closed out, I found myself at the unofficial after party a few blocks away. One of the people I had the pleasure of speaking with was Dylan Cohen.
Dylan was showcasing an interesting game called Space Cats In Space!, and yet I learned that he wasn’t the developer—he was doing a favor for a colleague who wasn’t able to make it to the expo. I did discover, however, that Dylan was a man of many talents who had an interesting outlook on media production relating to the gaming industry.
TechRaptor: Let’s start with your name and the company you work for.
Dylan Cohen: [I’m the Director of Photography for] Iron Helmet Films. We are a production company based out of Brooklyn. We do video editing, photography, graphic design, and performance art. We are stage performers as well.
TR: And your name is?
DC: My name is Dylan Cohen. I also go by my artist alias DozenFingers Photography.
TR: The curious thing is that you’re not a video game developer but you are representing a developer at this event. How did that come to be?
DC: I have performed in a Star Wars stage combat group with the guy who owns Space Cats In Space!. My business partner and I both met doing Star Wars-related stage combat. Me and him started Iron Helmet Films outside of said group. We just started our own film company. The guy who owns Space Cats In Space hired us to represent him because he wasn’t gonna be here for this event and he has hired us in the past to represent him as well for other events.
TR: So you technically don’t work for Robotic Potato Games, but they know you well enough that they trust you to represent them.
DC: Right. We work for ourselves but we are available for contracts. We’re looking to expand in the indie market to other game companies that might need other services we have available to offer such as graphic design, photography, video, or other things.
TR: And I assume they can find all that stuff on your web page?
DC: Yeah we have several Facebook pages. My Facebook page, DozenFingers Photography. There’s an Iron Helmet Films Facebook as well the Iron Helmet Films YouTube channel which we are constantly posting on. Luciano Del Valle is the owner of the company. I’m his second-in-command as the Director of Photography.
TR: Are you much of a gamer [yourself]?
DC: I’m not as big of a gamer as my partner is. I do more of the graphics for the company more than the gaming aspect. He does gaming-related footage. He records himself playing games, he makes music videos with artists over his game footage. We also make trailers for games – well, that’s what we’re looking to get into, anyway.
TR: A lot of indie developers tend to [have] the kind of mindset that they do everything themselves. They do all the PR, all the marketing, all the coding, all the graphics—or they contract out. What do you think a video editing, production, recording, and graphics design company could bring to the indie developer that would be worth the money that they couldn’t do themselves in your opinion?
DC: A lot of indie companies put all of their money and effort and time into making the games. [They] don’t think about how are they gonna advertise the game to people as much until after the game [launches] And then they’re like, “Oh, now people are buying our game. Now we can invest in advertising.” Instead of saying “Hey, here’s another company that’s willing to work with us. They’re not asking for millions of dollars.” We’re asking to just help them out on a basic level…
TR: And get paid relatively fairly and not break the bank.
DC: Right. Produce professional-quality material for said companies for a fair price. Trailers, graphics, flyers.
TR: Now when you say this stuff you would be strictly production. You wouldn’t also do marketing and promotion, but you would give them the tools to do that better, correct?
TR: Because I’ll tell you one thing, I researched literally every game that was [listed as being shown at Playcrafting’s Fall Expo] and whether or not they had a trailer that made sense and showed enough of the game was a factor in which people I decided to talk to first—if at all.
DC: Right. One of the things we specialize in is making game trailers. They can give us a a copy of their game. We’ll record ourself playing it. Custom music, custom footage from the game. Or if they have licensed music they can give it to us and we can create a trailer out of it.
TR: Can you guys do music too?
DC: Yeah, we can make music. I got connections everywhere.
TR: -laughs- That’s how New York rolls! Outside of that, anything else you want to get out about the gaming world that you think is important to say?
DC: I think the gaming world is a little underrecognized.
DC: It’s really big but it’s also really small in the sense that I haven’t heard about half of the games that people are talking about. How do I know? I can’t even find them.
TR: In terms of raw consumer spending, video games is the biggest entertainment medium. But what you’re saying is that within that medium it’s hard for people to find the individual, smaller games.
DC: Right, exactly. Perfect example: My favorite band [is] Dream Theater. Ever heard of them?
TR: Yes I have. I have a friend who’s a music nerd and that’s the only reason why. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have.
DC: Exactly. You know one guy who’s a super music nerd who goes, “This is Dream Theater, you’re gonna like them.” But out of your group of friends, only you are the one who knows about them.
TR: That’s actually 100% accurate.
DC: So that is the same way in the gaming community as in you had millions of people that know about games [but might not know about smaller games]. In general, these other games that are not on the [cover] of Rolling Stone—no one’s gonna know that they’re there.
I’d like to thank Dylan of Iron Helmet Films for taking the time to talk with me. I have to agree with most of the premises he put forward here—I’ve done a bit of music composition and video production but it’s definitely an acquired skill. I know how much time goes into these things firsthand, and my efforts in music production in particular didn’t come out so hot. A talented individual (or company!) who can take care of this stuff for you is a cost that is probably worth it if only to save yourself the time and benefit from their experience.
If you were a game dev, would you hire someone else to make your music and/or produce your promotional materials or would you just do it yourself? Let us know in the comments below!